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Title: The climate of Mars from assimilations of spacecraft data
Author: Ruan, Tao
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 4610
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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The Mars climate has been explored using two reanalysis datasets based on combining spacecraft observations of temperature and dust with the UK version of the LMD Mars GCM. The semiannual oscillation (SAO) of zonal-mean zonal wind was studied using the existing Mars Analysis Correction Data Assimilation reanalysis during Mars Years (MYs) 24-27. The SAO of zonal-mean zonal wind was shown to exist and extend over a wide range of latitudes. The dynamical driving processes of the SAO in the tropics were investigated, and the forcing due to meridional advection appeared to be the main contributor to the SAO. The study also highlighted some phenomena associated with perturbations of the global circulation during the MY 25 global dust storm (GDS). The meridional advection term was shown to be weaker in the first half of GDS year MY 25 than in the following year, but the forcing due to meridional advection and westward thermal tides both appeared to intensify during the MY 25 GDS. The capabilities of the Mars data assimilation system were also extended in this thesis, 1) to represent dynamic dust lifting and dust transport during the assimilation and 2) to assimilate measurements of the dust vertical distribution. The updated reanalysis was then used to study several major dust events during MY28-29. It proved able to reproduce a southward-moving regional dust storm without the overwhelming assistance of the assimilation. Dust devil lifting was found to at least partly provide the initial pattern of dust of this moving dust storm. The cold anomaly of the cooling zone beneath this dust storm could be as large as ∼ 2 K similar to the magnitude of what was found during the MY 25 GDS. Using the reanalysis, the life cycle of the planet-encircling global dust storm in MY28 was also studied. The Noachis dust storm that occurred just before the MY 28 GDS was found to be the joint result of a travelling Chryse storm, enhanced by dust lifting along its path and local dust lifting in Noachis itself. The adiabatic heating associated with the north polar warming that occurred during MY 28 GDS was up to ∼ 3 times as large as that found during the non-GDS year MY 29. The wind stress dust lifting was shown to in strong correlation with the global average dust loadings, and significantly decreased when the GDS decayed.
Supervisor: Read, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Computer simulation ; Mars (Planet) ; Physics ; Data Assimilation ; Mars Climate ; numerical model ; dust climatology